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Sorry, I didn't bring up the WSDL caching bit. Basically, in order to generate a strongly typed proxy class for your web service, you would need to cache the WSDL. This means that in the event that the web service is updated, you would need to regenerate your proxy class. This might sound like a headache in theory, but in practice it actually is not a big deal. You just have to decide ahead of time which web services are volatile (e.g., ones you don't control -- they could change at any time), and which ones are more stable, and good candidates for generating proxy classes for.
And as an added benefit, you have one less roundtrip -- you don't have to fetch the WSDL.
Flex Builder 3 includes the "Import Web Service (WSDL)" wizard which is a tool that will generate proxy classes from a WSDL file. This tool is included in the latest engineering drop, but is not available in the latest beta build. You can access it via File>Import>Flex>Import Web Service (WSDL) or by accessing the Data>Import Web Service (WSDL)... menu option.
Plus, using the web services manager tool (accessible via Data>Manage Web Services...) you can generate proxy classes for more than one WSDL file by adding more WSDLs to your project, remove the generated classes by deleting the WSDL from your project or regenerate the proxy classes by using the Update option.
Using the proxy classes you benefit from code hinting of operations the web service exposes, code hinting on the operation parameters and their types, you get strongly typed results and more.
Give these tools a try. We will appreciate any feedback you'll provide.
I'd love to give these tools a try and provide feedback! How can I get the latest engineering drop?
I installed Flex 3 and can't find this facility in the import menu.
Do I need to install something else ??
I too am interested in getting access to the latest engineering drop. We're working on a project that has a very good chance of being used in an a very big and very important upcoming event if we can make it solid enough on time. Anyway, thanks!
Sorry for getting you all excited about this new tool. I was unaware that the engineering drops were not publicly available.
This tool will be included in our next beta release, so stay tuned.
Any word on when we should expect the next beta?
Our next beta will be released during October, before our beta 1 expires.